Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day

It is early when I write this.  Not yet 8:30 in the morning, and I'm wondering when the celebrations will start.

I remember the celebrations when I was growing up.  The Alderfers next door would have a cookout and invite their friends and the neighbors.  We'd make burgers, hot dogs, get stuffed on sugary punch and crash out after the sugar high.   This being the plains of New Jersey, we'd get sparklers and light them off on the cooling coals of the fires and wish that we could have more.  If we were lucky we'd go to one of the nearby towns for a firework show.  For a while, the Garden State Park would have fireworks display until the big fire burned down the grandstands.  There's a big box mall there now that is more popular than the old horse track ever was, but you don't get excited when you're a kid going to a big box store and the fireworks were more fun.

Later we realized that the park in Cherry Hill was a good place to see the professional fireworks shows from Haddonfield and Pennsauken.  If we put ourselves in the right spot you'd get to see some of the show from Philadelphia down the Cooper Creek past Camden.  We would load up the cars with supplies, go sit out in the grass and "Ooh and Aah" at the displays while slathering bug repellent and swatting those brown mosquitoes.  This was New Jersey after all, and its a very green and lush place.

Through the years I moved out of South Jersey, ended up in Philadelphia but never lost the love of fireworks.  It wasn't really possible to get fireworks in the Philadelphia Area without driving out of state, and the trouble never seemed worth it.  One year I drove down to Hilton Head, South Carolina with my sister and my mom and we made it a point to stop off at one of those roadside fireworks stands in SC or NC and get a big bag full of Roman Candles and Bottle Rockets that we took to the Barclay Homestead in Cherry Hill and fired them all off.   Much more exciting!

Here in South Florida there seems to be an interesting quirk in the law.  From what I have been able to tell, there are no restrictions on fireworks on the water.  There are large barns of buildings with fireworks for sale and they make you sign a waiver explaining the law, but I can't say for sure that I am right about that law since I am going on someone else's memory of it.  From what I've been able to tell it would be legal for me to buy high explosives, float them on a plank in the New River around the city of Wilton Manors and blow them all up but have that plank on land and I've got to be careful.

Not to worry, I didn't get any this year.  My neighbors will all be having fun so I can watch and be safe.  Where in New Jersey kids were running around with sparklers, here just about every block has someone firing off rockets that burst in mid air.  Mrs Dog will be a wreck with all that racket, but she doesn't like Thunderstorms either.

The beginning of all of this was from a comment made by John Adams, who would later become the Second President of the United States.  From Wikipedia:

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.

If you don't care for fireworks, Blame him!  For me, I'll be enjoying the show!

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